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Quick Takes: Lifetime plans movie on royal romance

January 29, 2011

The romance between Britain's Prince William and fiancée Kate Middleton is getting the TV movie treatment.

Lifetime said it planned to air "William & Kate" before the royal nuptials in London on April 29, although it doesn't start shooting for another two weeks and is lacking a lead actress.

William, 28, second in line to the British throne, will be played by little-known New Zealand actor Nico Evers-Swindell, whose credits include small parts in the TV shows "Law & Order" and "NCIS: Los Angeles." Lifetime said British actor Ben Cross, known for his role in the 1981 movie "Chariots of Fire," would play Prince Charles. But no one has yet been cast to play the 29-year-old Middleton.

—Reuters

Rembrandt work to be offered

A Rembrandt portrait, one of the last works from the Dutch master's late career still in private hands, will be offered for sale at the TEFAF Maastricht art fair in March for $47 million.

"Portrait of a Man With Arms Akimbo" was under the auctioneer's hammer as recently as 2009, when it fetched an artist record price of $33 million at Christie's in London.

Since 2009, it has been "transformed by cleaning and can now be seen in its full glory," according to a statement from PR company Cawdell Douglas, which represents the Netherlands event.

Art experts said the sharply higher asking price could reflect both the cleaning process and the fact that art market values soared in 2010.

—Reuters

OWN ratings top predecessor

As it nears its one-month mark, the Oprah Winfrey Network has grown its prime-time audience by one-third over the network it replaced.

OWN's all-day viewership is up 25% over the year-ago audience for Discovery Health, the channel OWN claimed when it signed on Jan. 1.

Christina Norman, the network's CEO, calls its first month "an encouraging start" and declares, "The idea works."

"The audience understands what this is supposed to be," she said Friday from the network's Los Angeles headquarters. "It is not a network built around a person. It's a network built around a person's worldview."

That person, of course, is Oprah Winfrey, who is ending her weekday syndicated talk show this spring to concentrate full-time on her cable startup, which is available in 80 million homes.

An average of 297,000 viewers are watching OWN in prime time, with an average of 145,000 viewers tuned in during the full day, according to Nielsen Co. data measuring the network from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23.

—Associated Press

Conductor takes time to recover

Japan's most famous orchestral conductor, Seiji Ozawa, will take a complete break from conducting for six months after a back condition for which he had surgery was more extensive than expected.

The 75-year-old former Vienna State Opera musical director was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a year ago and completed treatment by August, but in January underwent endoscopic lower back surgery for chronic pain.

Ozawa had planned six concerts in Japan for March, but these have now been canceled, said organizers at Ozawa's Ongaku Juku, which he founded.

"Though the surgery was successful and his chronic back pain has been cured, he's much like an athlete and what he does really taxes his back," the organizers said in a statement. "Therefore he has decided to concentrate on rehabilitation for about half a year."

—Reuters

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